It’s my booktalk in a box! OK, it’s not actually in a box. I just like to say that things are in a box.

I work in the Youth Wing of a pretty big library. We have have two reference desks: a juvenile/kids’/children’s desk and a young adult/teen desk. Most days the library is open from 9 am to 9 pm, and the children’s desk is staffed by a revolving cast of librarians this entire time. The YA desk is hardly ever staffed by anything other than a sign telling you to go back to the children’s side of the wing. The truth is, our staffing is pretty low with no sign of getting better in the near future. This is sad news, not only for our teen patrons, their caregivers, and their teachers, but also for me (won’t somebody think about me?) because I like YA services almost as much as I like children’s services. I like putting up lots of displays on the YA side to make it look cared-for and important, and to sort of be a stand-in for an actual librarian.

I’m on the Rainbow List for a full term, but I’m taking a little break before next year’s books come rolling in. I love the Rainbow List, but being on it means I have to skip lots of non-LGBTQ-related books. I’m trying to play catch-up on the titles I’ve missed, so I finally decided to take a crack at that Divergent book all the kids are reading.

(If you haven’t read Divergent, you may want to skip the rest of this in case I spoil something.)

OK, I borderline hate this book, but definitely dislike it. It’s got over 300 holds on it in our system and I just don’t know why. Is it because the movie is coming out? I feel like it’s a less clever Hunger Games or The Culling

The premise of the book just grated on my nerves. I don’t buy the notion that most people aren’t Divergent, as if most of the population falls into some tidy little box. I also cannot stand the love-interest, Four, because he’s such a boring little mansplainer.

But I trudged on through this book like the brave little soldier that I am, and came up with this little booktalk-in-a-box. It’s not in a box! But it’s a ready-made booktalk that I pasted up all over the YA section, especially in prime areas, like next to the sign-up computer. It’s not as good as the presence of a librarian, but hopefully someone will see this flyer and will have some interest in reading the book. Full disclosure: I made this by Frankenstein-ing many pre-existing images together. I’m a librarian, dammit, not an artist.

I feel like choosing a faction is a poor-man's excuse for the Hogwart's sorting hat. Snooze.
I feel like choosing a faction is a poor-man’s Hogwarts’ sorting hat. Snooze.

I know it seems kind of pointless to make one of these for a book that’s already really popular, but I couldn’t put the time that I spent reading this book to waste. Hopefully, I’ll find another YA title that I can create the same sort of thing for. If you have any ideas, send ’em my way.

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

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16 thoughts on “It’s my booktalk in a box! OK, it’s not actually in a box. I just like to say that things are in a box.

  1. Monica

    Oh, thank goodness it’s not just me. I discovered a few months ago that I’m pretty sure I read this book, and then promptly forgot about it. Which has led to a few uncomfortable conversations. “Have you read Allegiant? Are you excited about the movie?” “Um, no.” “Why?” “Well, I realized I read the first book and then forgot about it, which makes me not excited to try reading it again.”

      1. tyawger

        I agree. I did the same with the Twilight series. Sometimes we must suffer for our relevance 🙂

  2. Fallon

    Don’t read the rest of the series. The only GOOD book out of the three was Divergent and that’s saying a lot. I’m a dystopia fan but even I went “meh” with this book.

  3. Erin

    I did enjoy Divergent, but found myself unable to get into the second book, which I am finding to be case with many books that are a part of a series…
    On a seperate note, speaking of sequels, have you read Five, Six, Seven Nate! yet? I think I liked it even better than Better Nate than Ever…

  4. The sign you made, with a little box, scratch paper, and pencils could also be “passive” programming – let teens who see the sign vote for which faction they’d choose, and then maybe made a display of “If you were Candor, you’d read/watch/listen to this…”

    At least that’s what I wanna do with it – would you be willing to share the file? So that all of your hard work serves double duty? 😉

  5. monsterika

    I feel the same way about Divergent. I tried to read Insurgent because I felt like such a phony baloney talking to my students about the trilogy like I didn’t think it displayed the dumbest, most reductive view of human nature ever, and I barely made it halfway before I had to admit to them that I just didn’t like it. Coming out of the Divergent hate closet felt so right.

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